The Life and Work of Mark Twain
Mark Twain, the pen name created by Samuel Langhorn Clemens, once stated that “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug” (Smith). This quote fits Twain superbly because he is considered to be the first purely American writer to exist, using humorous lines and local language. Unfortunately, he spent a large portion of his life, which lasted from November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910, during the civil rights movement. The time period was filled to the brim with racial violence and slavery. In fact, one of twain’s most vivid childhood memories was of a group of slaves, chained together, awaited their turn to be sent down river to the slave market. He commented that “They had the saddest faces I ever saw” (Burns). Mark Twain’s childhood location, the strong racial violence, and the many hardships in which he underwent became the setting for many of his most famous works.
When Mark Twain was 4 years old he moved to Hannibal, which was on the banks of the Mississippi, where steamboats frequently stopped to unload and load cargo. Twain fell in love with the constant sight of the Mississippi River and, as a child, wanted nothing more than to become a riverboat pilot (The Official Web Site of Mark Twain). The Mississippi River became the setting for many of his future stories and although he never became a riverboat pilot, the piloting occupation snuck its way into of his famous works “Life on the Mississippi.” Later, when he was thirteen he left school for a temporary job as a printer’s apprentice. He worked in that position until age 15, when he became a printer and editorial’s assistant at his brother’s newspaper. Whenever his brother was unavailable or out of town, Twain would review and edit the paper for him (The Official Web Site of Mark Twain). This is, in fact, when Twain first when realized that he loved to write. After he learned of his new love, he spent the rest of his life creating original and mind-blowing works of literature. He was the first person to write an entire book in purely American. He was able to capture the language of the area and accurately portray the folkways of Americans. People have long since been mimicking Mark Twain’s writing style (The Big Read). Twain commonly wrote about slavery which was not taboo during his middle-aged years. A few of his stories helped others realize that slaves were actually people and that they deserved to have lives of their own. Mark Twain was one of the noble people who helped push the Civil Rights movement to success. Not all of his stories had aspects of slavery residing within them, nonetheless.
There were many critical works done of Twain’s writings, including one that was written by Rhana E. Zaid about “The celebrated Frog of Calaveras County.” According to Edna, this story is set in Calaveras county, focusing on a man named Jim Smiley who was “’always betting on anything...